Friday, July 07, 2017

I Reach Out and (Hopefully) Make a Difference

Eight days ago I went along with a door-to-door fundraiser for an organization with which I was considering employment. I found some of his conduct quite offensive and decided to communicate my concerns with the charity on whose behalf he was acting. I wrote them as follows:



Inappropriate conduct by fundraiser

To whom it may concern:


Last Thursday I shadowed an employee of one of the contractors who go door-to-door to enroll support for your organization, [company's name deleted]. I decided not to take the job because of conduct on his part that I found disturbing and inappropriate.



More than once, when a prospect told him they didn't want to sign up at the door but would look Child Fund up online, this [company] employee, T---- J------ , responded by repeating to them that only one out of ten thousand people seeing the TV ads responds by sponsoring a child. Whether or not this is true (and I'm a bit skeptical since he seemed to state a higher figure to me between doorbells), how could it be relevant to the prospect in question? Since they just told him they were going to research your organization online, they are in an utterly different situation. Not responding to a TV ad you've passively watched is obviously different from breaking a promise you've just made to someone in person, face-to-face. And, since any reasonably intelligent person can see this, they can also see that he's 1) calling them a liar, 2) blatantly trying to blackmail them emotionally, and 3) by acting as if they won't notice 1) and 2), insulting their intelligence.


While it's possible that, in spite of all this, those individuals nonetheless went online and enrolled, Mr. J------'s obnoxious behavior surely left a bad taste in their mouths that made them less likely to do so. In fact, since he did this more than once, he may have cost Child Fund Inc. more enrollees than the two he actually signed up at the door during the period I shadowed him.


After we returned to the [company] office, I tried to convey this to him, saying if someone behaved this way toward me I would shut the door in their face. And I'm not someone lacking in social concern; one reason he thought me a promising potential employee is that I've often done door-to-door canvassing and other work for causes as a volunteer. But soft-hearted isn't the same as soft-headed.

Mr. J------ defended himself by saying he was the top performer at his office (Philadelphia). But how is his performance measured? Only by enrollments at the door. Those who decline to do so but say they'll look up Child Fund online aren't tracked, so there's no way of telling how many potential enrollees he's turned off. What I can tell you is that the two people he did enroll that afternoon didn't do so because of his obnoxious behavior. In both cases they were eager to enroll as soon as they heard who he was representing, since they'd heard of it from people close to them who were already enrolled. So, his offensive behavior accomplished nothing on behalf of Child Fund, but may well have cancelled out the enrollments he did get.


The other thing he said in his defense was that he was simply doing what [the company] had trained him to do. All that means is that it's not just T---- J------, but a whole organization of people who may be costing Child Fund many potential supporters.


While I decided not to be part of that organization, I felt it behooved me to inform you of this troubling situation. Thank you for your attention.


Sincerely,


[my name]
I received this reply today:

That was a very difficult email to read. From the bottom of my heart thank you so much for taking the time to compose and send us the account of your experience.

I have forwarded your full email to our department that handles the face to face vendors and they will ensure that this is addressed immediately.

We want you to know that the behavior you outlined is not acceptable behavior for our representatives and we deeply apologize to you for your unpleasant experience having to witness it. Unfortunately, it seems that we have missed out on the opportunity to have you represent us, but perhaps another opportunity will arise. For now, suffice it to say, that you have assisted enormously by sharing this information and I, personally, am grateful.

Thank you again for your support of our work and please let me know if there's anything we may assist you with.

All my best,
Victoria

For additional information regarding ChildFund International and our programs to help children in need around the world, please visit our website at http://www.ChildFund.org.

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